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10-05-19 01:18 PM
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  1. chetmanley's Avatar
    Hello,

    I decided to remove Google Play Services from my Keyone. I've been digging through the OS settings the past week and was not comfortable with all the analytics running under the hood. So I experimented on my Priv first to see if it would perform similarly to BB10 (sans GPS) or if it would throw up so many issues and warnings that it wouldn't work.

    To my excitement, the Priv still worked with the following caveats:

    -Google Maps and Google Pictures generate a notification each time they are started stating they wont run without GPS (they run fine, and that notification can be blocked). I tried patching both of them like BB10, but because they are system apps, I can't install over them.

    On the plus side, Google pictures looks so much cleaner now since the menu has simplifed having no Google Drive or sharing or backup or what have you. Its now simply a picture viewer.

    -Blackberry Password Keeper wont start without GPS and needs to be patched (BB10 Cobalt Style). On the Priv I couldn't install the patched version because Password keeper is a system app, but it wasn't a problem on the Keyone because you can completely uninstall PK and install the patched version.

    -Signal doesn't work. I tried a patched version but it simply can't contact its server without GPS
    Update: Signal now works fine without Google Play Services.

    -Threema works like on BB10 with Polling switched on.

    -Obviously no Google play store. It won't even start.

    So in summary, it's basically BB10. So I'm back to getting my APKs from other sources, patching them as required, and side loading them.

    The Benefits:

    BATTERY LIFE!!!! Before I killed the google, my new Keyone was averaging 40 hours of battery life which is already fantastic with about 6-7 hours of screen on time. But since killing GPS, I haven't charged my phone in 25 hours and it still has 40 hours of life left at its current rate!! So almost 3 days of battery available That's with a VPN connected 24/7 also, Cellular and Wifi radios on, battery saving mode off.

    NO MORE GOOGLE SPYWARE - nuf said

    I'm testing another Map application called Here. It provides offline maps and it has dramatically fewer permission requests than Google Maps.

    Lucky Patcher

    http://lucky-patcher.en.uptodown.com/android

    In addition, while researching all of this, I discovered an app called Lucky Patcher. This app is amazing because it allows you to disable application permissions, including those ones you can't control manually in app settings. Stuff like network connections, google ads, Blackberry Telemetry, vibration and NFC control can all be tweaked with this app.

    So not only have I disabled google from my phone, I've managed to patch my favorite apps so they no longer contact google or facebook ad servers, or BB Telemetry in the background. This took some trial and error with some apps because it would cause some to crash depending on what was disabled.

    Just wanted to share because I'm sure there are other tinfoil hat wearing BB users out there who are weary of making the switch to Android. But I found a way to make this phone as private as possible. It's essentially a Passport now, but it has Android 7.1 rather than 4.3.

    Cheers

    EDIT: Updates from rest of thread to save some reading.

    In place of Signal, you can download Noise from the Copperhead repository on F-Droid.
    Update: Noise is no more - Signal can now be used without Google Play Services like Noise.

    In place of the Google Play Store, you can install Yalp (also from F-Droid).

    Update regarding Yalp Store: Recently more and more applications are coming from Google Play as split apks (ie, one app is made up of multiple apks). Without root access, Yalp has no way to install these split apps.

    Fortunately there is an app called SAI (Split APK installer) available from here:
    https://github.com/Aefyr/SAI/releases
    Update: It's now available on google play / yalp also

    Once you download the app from Yalp, it will warn you if it's split and therefore can't be installed. Just install it using SAI by selecting each of the spilit apk parts which were downloaded by Yalp.
    Last edited by chetmanley; 09-17-19 at 07:32 PM.
    07-04-17 03:52 PM
  2. ce71's Avatar
    That's all very interesting. Although, what are you going to do about the latest BB app updates, such as Calendar, Hub, BB Launcher, etc? Can you get those from other sources as well?

    I understand your reason for doing this. I almost did something similar, but did not go as far. I setup my K1 with a non-gmail account - something that many people are not aware is possible. Secondly, I dove into every Google privacy option I could find and disabled it.

    They "seem" to be getting better at transparency. You can now see the information they store about you and make decisions regarding what data you allow them to collect. Do I believe it all? Of course not, but I did whatever I could.
    07-05-17 08:25 AM
  3. mvsalvino's Avatar
    For those who like this ideology but don't want to lose functionality of Google play services or don't want to deal with monkeypatching of apps...

    Consider just disabling Google play services usage access, and other apps background permission. Google maps is also a hard offender, so disable it from background. I disabled background permissions for almost all apps and it dramatically helped with battery life and data collection [spyware]. DTEK app confirms that hardly anything is accessing location/contacts/data/etc now unless I specifically have that app open.

    Settings > apps > click the gear > special access. There you will see background apps, usage access, unrestricted data access, etc. Turn it all off!
    j00d, anon(2313227), Narke and 2 others like this.
    07-05-17 09:25 AM
  4. ce71's Avatar
    For those who like this ideology but don't want to lose functionality of Google play services or don't want to deal with monkeypatching of apps...

    Consider just disabling Google play services usage access, and other apps background permission. Google maps is also a hard offender, so disable it from background. I disabled background permissions for almost all apps and it dramatically helped with battery life and data collection [spyware]. DTEK app confirms that hardly anything is accessing location/contacts/data/etc now unless I specifically have that app open.

    Settings > apps > click the gear > special access. There you will see background apps, usage access, unrestricted data access, etc. Turn it all off!
    Perfect. Thanks!
    07-05-17 02:31 PM
  5. chetmanley's Avatar
    That's all very interesting. Although, what are you going to do about the latest BB app updates, such as Calendar, Hub, BB Launcher, etc? Can you get those from other sources as well?
    I think the reason I couldn't install over the system apps during my test is because they were patched. I'm planning on getting the new apps from apkmirror or from my Priv and extracting them. Hopefully that will work.

    Consider just disabling Google play services usage access, and other apps background permission. Google maps is also a hard offender, so disable it from background. I disabled background permissions for almost all apps and it dramatically helped with battery life and data collection [spyware]. DTEK app confirms that hardly anything is accessing location/contacts/data/etc now unless I specifically have that app open.

    Settings > apps > click the gear > special access. There you will see background apps, usage access, unrestricted data access, etc. Turn it all off!
    Right. I did the same before I tried this experiment, but found Google Services still chuggs away in the background. I confirmed this using Glasswire to monitor what was using data and when. In addition, Google Play Services will always get your location data as soon as you turn location services on because there is no way to turn off that permission. And as was mentioned above, Google maps is constantly trying to get your location, even when location services is off and the app is closed.


    So aside from a 10% topup my Keyone got while connect to my computer last night transferring apps, I haven;t charged this phone in 48 hours. Still have 55% remaining and it shows 1 day, 15 hours left at the current discharge rate! Screen on time is 7 hours at the moment.

    I'll keep everyone posted as I continue the experiment and how system app updates work out.

    Cheers
    ce71 and app_Developer like this.
    07-05-17 04:30 PM
  6. kbz1960's Avatar
    Weren't you tired of workarounds and patches? Why not just stick to bb10.
    07-05-17 06:29 PM
  7. mvsalvino's Avatar
    I think the reason I couldn't install over the system apps during my test is because they were patched. I'm planning on getting the new apps from apkmirror or from my Priv and extracting them. Hopefully that will work.



    Right. I did the same before I tried this experiment, but found Google Services still chuggs away in the background. I confirmed this using Glasswire to monitor what was using data and when. In addition, Google Play Services will always get your location data as soon as you turn location services on because there is no way to turn off that permission. And as was mentioned above, Google maps is constantly trying to get your location, even when location services is off and the app is closed.


    So aside from a 10% topup my Keyone got while connect to my computer last night transferring apps, I haven;t charged this phone in 48 hours. Still have 55% remaining and it shows 1 day, 15 hours left at the current discharge rate! Screen on time is 7 hours at the moment.

    I'll keep everyone posted as I continue the experiment and how system app updates work out.

    Cheers
    Wow amazing results. While I have not completely disabled Google play services, disabling background permissions, usage access, and turning off location services does yield immense battery gains. I also signed out of all Google apps and disabled the many intricate privacy settings. Zero functionality loss as well as Google services still work when they are called upon and apps are open. Toggling location is doable from quick settings. There is even a setting buried deep deep in the settings to disable background location triangulation using WiFi even if WiFi is turned off. Google really does have their claws in deep!

    While the performance gains are not as good as completely nuking Google play services, I do regularly get at least 9 hours of screen on time and that includes playing two games (which we all know phone games are pretty trashy ad-riddled apps in general). If I didn't have the games I could probably get 3 day battery life, but I think 2 shall suffice.


    Let us know how you hold up without GPS. I would consider forgoing it myself.
    07-05-17 08:42 PM
  8. chetmanley's Avatar
    Weren't you tired of workarounds and patches? Why not just stick to bb10.
    One of the reasons was VPN support. IKEv2 works great until you connect to a network that blocks it (many hotels and China).

    2nd was my recent discovery that BB10 still communicates with the BB NOC via carriers and not directly. So when a government forces a carrier to block a BB service or application, the carrier can do it in a way such that the app wont even start on BB10, VPN or not. But on BB Android that isn't an issue and the VPN can bypass the block because it communicates directly with the NOC.

    3rd was camera. While I found the Passport camera actually took decent photos, I found myself bringing my Priv around with me also because of its better camera - so I wanted one device like the Keyone that had the best of both.

    While the performance gains are not as good as completely nuking Google play services, I do regularly get at least 9 hours of screen on time and that includes playing two games (which we all know phone games are pretty trashy ad-riddled apps in general). If I didn't have the games I could probably get 3 day battery life, but I think 2 shall suffice.


    Let us know how you hold up without GPS. I would consider forgoing it myself.
    That's really good actually. I don't play any games so 9 hours of screen time with games is really impressive I think. I'm going to keep my phone off the charger again tonight, its still at 47% after watching some youtube and playing music at a friends.

    I did notice that Whatsapp no longer receives messages instantly unless the application is running in the background (recents tab). Looks like it used GPS to poll for messages when its closed?.
    Kinda a bummer but at least it still runs.

    BBM Enterprise still works perfectly, no need to patch and it doesn't look for GPS. I can't recall if BBM Consumer has issues without GPS because of the google and facebook ads, but I think it still ran fine after tapping outside the warning box. Unfortunately BBM Consumer is a system app so I don't think it can be patched over.
    Last edited by chetmanley; 07-05-17 at 08:57 PM.
    kbz1960 and skilas like this.
    07-05-17 08:46 PM
  9. mvsalvino's Avatar
    I did notice that Whatsapp no longer receives messages instantly unless the application is running in the background (recents tab). Looks like it used GPS to poll for messages when its closed?.
    Kinda a bummer but at least it still runs.
    I believe GPS handles push notifications for apps that do not implement their own (i.e. email, sms, phone, etc do not rely on this as they have their own mechanisms). I suspect BBM has its own polling mechanism because it is my #1 battery hog and constantly using the mobile radio as reported by the battery stats.
    07-05-17 09:23 PM
  10. Sulaco757's Avatar
    Interesting Geek-out find. For years it's bugged me that Android manufacturers will claim "All day battery life" while the phones need a recharge after 8 hours and 2.5 hours SOT. Can sympathize with them after learning how deep Google's systems run in the background, and how often. I considered the Pixel but pulled back after learning it basically has iPhone battery life.

    Personally I am looking forward to Google play services again, but I will be limiting background services as much as possible on a stock non patched device.

     C L A S S I C • SQC100-3/10.3.3.2205 on Verizon
    07-05-17 11:15 PM
  11. dpw09's Avatar
    For those who like this ideology but don't want to lose functionality of Google play services or don't want to deal with monkeypatching of apps...

    Consider just disabling Google play services usage access, and other apps background permission. Google maps is also a hard offender, so disable it from background. I disabled background permissions for almost all apps and it dramatically helped with battery life and data collection [spyware]. DTEK app confirms that hardly anything is accessing location/contacts/data/etc now unless I specifically have that app open.

    Settings > apps > click the gear > special access. There you will see background apps, usage access, unrestricted data access, etc. Turn it all off!
    I don't have special access in my gear
    07-06-17 08:06 PM
  12. mvsalvino's Avatar
    I don't have special access in my gear https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/201...086419069d.jpg
    Interesting... are you on a K1? And what update version?
    07-06-17 08:54 PM
  13. dpw09's Avatar
    Interesting... are you on a K1? And what update version?
    Dtek50 on 6.0. Must be a 7.0 thing
    07-06-17 08:56 PM
  14. chetmanley's Avatar
    Yea I think its 7.0. My Priv doesn't have those settings available either.

    Battery update: Phones been without a full charge for 3 days, 12 hours and is sitting at 28% with "23 hours left"

    23% Phone Idle
    20% Screen (9 hours on screen time)
    15% VPN
    9% Android System
    6% Mobile standby
    4% Android OS
    4% Firefox
    2% Wifi
    2% Threema
    1% N System UI

    BBM Enterprise and Whatsapp didn't even register 1% usage.

    I wonder how long the life would extend if I wasn't running a VPN 24/7!

    So 4 days give or take. My Passport with the exact same usage style would average a 30-34 hour battery life estimate and I'd charge it every night.
    07-06-17 09:06 PM
  15. kvndoom's Avatar
    Dtek50 on 6.0. Must be a 7.0 thing
    Shucks. 😞
    07-07-17 02:13 PM
  16. adonesc's Avatar
    Hello,

    I decided to remove Google Play Services from my Keyone. I've been digging through the OS settings the past week and was not comfortable with all the analytics running under the hood. So I experimented on my Priv first to see if it would perform similarly to BB10 (sans GPS) or if it would throw up so many issues and warnings that it wouldn't work.

    To my excitement, the Priv still worked with the following caveats:

    -Google Maps and Google Pictures generate a notification each time they are started stating they wont run without GPS (they run fine, and that notification can be blocked). I tried patching both of them like BB10, but because they are system apps, I can't install over them.

    On the plus side, Google pictures looks so much cleaner now since the menu has simplifed having no Google Drive or sharing or backup or what have you. Its now simply a picture viewer.

    -Blackberry Password Keeper wont start without GPS and needs to be patched (BB10 Cobalt Style). On the Priv I couldn't install the patched version because Password keeper is a system app, but it wasn't a problem on the Keyone because you can completely uninstall PK and install the patched version.

    -Signal doesn't work. I tried a patched version but it simply can't contact its server without GPS

    -Threema works like on BB10 with Polling switched on.

    -Obviously no Google play store. It won't even start.

    So in summary, it's basically BB10. So I'm back to getting my APKs from other sources, patching them as required, and side loading them.

    The Benefits:

    BATTERY LIFE!!!! Before I killed the google, my new Keyone was averaging 40 hours of battery life which is already fantastic with about 6-7 hours of screen on time. But since killing GPS, I haven't charged my phone in 25 hours and it still has 40 hours of life left at its current rate!! So almost 3 days of battery available That's with a VPN connected 24/7 also, Cellular and Wifi radios on, battery saving mode off.

    NO MORE GOOGLE SPYWARE - nuf said

    I'm testing another Map application called Here. It provides offline maps and it has dramatically fewer permission requests than Google Maps.

    Lucky Patcher

    http://lucky-patcher.en.uptodown.com/android

    In addition, while researching all of this, I discovered an app called Lucky Patcher. This app is amazing because it allows you to disable application permissions, including those ones you can't control manually in app settings. Stuff like network connections, google ads, Blackberry Telemetry, vibration and NFC control can all be tweaked with this app.

    So not only have I disabled google from my phone, I've managed to patch my favorite apps so they no longer contact google or facebook ad servers, or BB Telemetry in the background. This took some trial and error with some apps because it would cause some to crash depending on what was disabled.

    Just wanted to share because I'm sure there are other tinfoil hat wearing BB users out there who are weary of making the switch to Android. But I found a way to make this phone as private as possible. It's essentially a Passport now, but it has Android 7.1 rather than 4.3.

    Cheers
    I shut off Location (services) and got ridden of all the Google notifications as a result. No more "Did you shop at...? Rate your experience!" Or "Are you currently at..."

    Battery life has also noticeably improved...
    07-08-17 06:41 PM
  17. chetmanley's Avatar
    Update: Still running my Keyone De-googled

    I've been installing updated BB apps downloaded from APK mirror directly onto my phone. All install perfectly fine.
    07-18-17 06:10 PM
  18. dpw09's Avatar
    Update: Still running my Keyone De-googled

    I've been installing updated BB apps downloaded from APK mirror directly onto my phone. All install perfectly fine.
    Why not use cobalt BlackBerry manager?
    07-19-17 09:24 PM
  19. chetmanley's Avatar
    Why not use cobalt BlackBerry manager?
    I actually didnt consider that. I just read his post about it and it sounds awesome, but it looks like it needs a Google Account activated on the phone to be able to access the play store.

    Since all the googles on my phone are disabled, I cant add an account.
    dpw09 likes this.
    07-20-17 07:00 AM
  20. j00d's Avatar
    Are you going to post a guide on how you did this? You seem like you know where all the nooks and crannies are.
    portplayer likes this.
    08-28-17 05:56 PM
  21. mtdyson's Avatar
    Weren't you tired of workarounds and patches? Why not just stick to bb10.
    BB10 was primarily work arounds and patches to get the Android apps to run. If you only run what's on BB10 that's awesome but most people need more.
    08-28-17 06:10 PM
  22. chetmanley's Avatar
    Status Update: Still running without the google. I get all my BB app updates from apkmirror. They tend to arrive there before Google play sometimes anyway.

    Some apps which aren't uploaded to apkmirror I extract from my Priv which I'm using with no accounts or user data onboard other than a gmail account for google play access.
    08-28-17 06:26 PM
  23. Huussi's Avatar
    Status Update: Still running without the google. I get all my BB app updates from apkmirror. They tend to arrive there before Google play sometimes anyway.

    Some apps which aren't uploaded to apkmirror I extract from my Priv which I'm using with no accounts or user data onboard other than a gmail account for google play access.
    Try using the app from F-Droid that fetches APKs directly from the play store, might make things easier for you.
    Also, F-Droid is just great for no-gapps apps.
    08-29-17 03:37 AM
  24. chetmanley's Avatar
    Cool I'll get that a go, Thanks
    08-29-17 08:11 AM
  25. ToniCipriani's Avatar
    You know you could've just bought the Chinese KEYone which doesn't have Play Services from the get go. And you get the 4/64 configuration too...
    08-29-17 08:58 AM
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